The FBI And CISPES
The FBI And CISPES
- Publication date
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE UNITED STATES SENATE together with ADDITIONAL VIEWS
DEAR SENATOR BIDEN and SENATOR THURMOND: On February 23, 1988, the Select Committee on Intelligence formally began an investigation of improper activities in the FBI's investigation of the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES). We herewith transmit to the Senate Judiciary Committee the public report resulting from the Intelligence Committee's investigation.
Critique of this report from The COINTELPRO Papers by Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall (foreword, xiii): Equally treacherous is The FBI and CISPES, a 1989 report of the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence." This is nothing more than a whitewash of the Bureau's covert and extralegal effort to wipe out domestic opposition to U.S. intervention in Central America.
That FBI campaign was first made public by a central participant, Frank Varelli. The Bureau admits it paid Varelli from 1981 to 1984 to infiltrate CISPES. Varelli has testified that the FBI's stated objective was to "break" CISPES. He recounts a modus operandi straight out of the annals COINTELPRO - from break-ins, bogus publications and disruption of public events to planting guns on CISPES members and seducing CISPES leaders in order to get blackmail photos for the FBI.' Alerted by Varelli's disclosures, the Center for Constitutional Rights obtained a small portion of the Bureau's CISPES files and released them to the press. The files show the U.S. government targeting a very broad range of religious, labor and community groups opposed to its Central America policies.They confirm that the FBI's objective was to attack and "neutralize" these groups" Mainstream media coverage of these revelations elicited a flurry of congressional investigations and hearings. Publicly exposed, the FBI tried to scapegoat the whistle blower. Its inhouse investigation found Varelli "unreliable" and held his false reports of CISPES terrorism responsible for the entire FBI operation.
The Bureau denied any violation of the constitutional rights of US. citizens or involvement in the hundreds of breakins reported by Central America activists. A grand total of six agents received "formal censure" and three were suspended for 14 days. The FBI moved its CISPES file to the national archives and Director Sessions declared the case dosed, a mere "aberration" due to "failure in FBI management." The Bureau's slander of Varelli gave the congress an easy way out. The single congressional report, The FBI and CISPES, endorses the FBI's entire account, without any reservation or qualification. It legitimizes a cover-up of current covert operations by exploiting the past reputation of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
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